All posts filed under: Life in General

Happy 21st!

A special friend of mine turned 21 last month.  And I couldn’t miss the opportunity to share in their celebrations. I don’t see much of my friend these days but they’re one of those friends that even if you didn’t see or hear from them for a really long time, the second you are back together you would just feel so comfortable and at ease. I first met them when I was only 19 and straight away I knew I had a friend for life.  We just seemed to be on the same page and they accepted me for who I was.  They were super generous and introduced me to all their friends, fed me, gave me a place to stay and made me feel so at home. One of the most wonderful things this friend gave me was a sense of purpose, they saw that I had things to give, they saw I had things I was good at and they let me have a go.  I learnt so much from them, about myself …

Celebrating Anzac Day

Today was Anzac Day, which I believe is the Australia/New Zealand equivalent to Remberance Sunday in the UK.  The lovely thing about it over here is that they give a Bank Holiday for it and this year it was a Thursday, so a little reprieve towards the end of the week – sweet. Yesterday, Minnie and I baked Anzac biscuits to mark the day and today we brought them to the beach for our Anzac Day family outing.  Jackson is modelling his Anzac biscuit here. After spoiling the children (and let’s face it us too because we get to stay horizontal for another hour) with a special iPad showing of The Lion King in mummy and daddy’s bed, we set off for Taylor’s Mistake.  This is a particularly attractive bay round the corner from Sumner where surfers and paragliders like to hang out.  We chose the less adventurous pursuit of sitting on a bench watching the waves whilst our children ran around us.  Which was all very nice until the little monkeys decided to make …

Le Race

On Saturday at 8am I will begin a 100km bike ride from Christchurch to Akaroa. A ride which includes three very big hills. It will hurt. Pray for me. Two weeks later…. Just to let you know all your prayers worked because I did it and really rather comfortably.  I was the only female on a mountain bike so I even have my name on the website, check it out It was such a beautiful day and there was no wind so I wasn’t battling anything more than my lack of training. Feel pretty proud of myself. Haven’t looked at my bike since.  

Bye Bye Summer

So today feels very much like Autumn.  It’s rained and the night has come noticeably earlier than normal and I almost put the heater on this morning.  Before we turn our attention to all things wrapping up and staying warm – I thought I would celebrate the wonderful summer we were blessed with…it was almost like God new after two Autumns and Winters in a row the Family Cowles needed some sun and fun. Bye bye ten minutes before bed time when Gareth and the children water our thirsty vegetables. Bye bye going to the beach for an hour and splashing in the water to keep cool. Bye bye summer, we have loved spending time with you, see you in a few months time!  

Parting is such sweet sorrow

It’s about 11,700 miles from Christchurch to Liverpool and that is why we don’t get to see friends and family so much.  For the first nine months of our move to New Zealand we have had no visitors, which has been good for starting our new life but not so good for missing our old life and loves. My mum and step-dad arrived on the 17th January, a long awaited date that had a “how many sleeps until” countdown monitored by Minnie since her birthday in November.  None of us could quite believe it when finally we could say, only one sleep to go. It’s hard to believe that was five weeks ago and we said goodbye six days ago.  Life gets busy again and we’ve already had another UK visit from our heroes Nic and Jen.  Alas they left as quickly as they came and once again I am left with a slightly low feeling as we get on with our day sans amis. Making friends is such a risky business, a roller coaster …

Happy New Year

I can’t step into 2013 without saying something. One of the first things you do when you get to a new year is you compare where you were 12 months previously.  Last year we were in Bath with Gordon and Rhiannon, and if memory serves me well we went out for a cosy lunch in a quaint country pub on New Year’s Day.  This year we are just us four on a beach and a pack of crisps for lunch (yes mother, I really do feed my children crisps for lunch some days). Then you think about what you have achieved during the last 12 months.  For us this is: Leave England, all our friends and family to travel across the other side of the world Arrive in Christchurch where we knew three people (Jonnie, Rich and Lucy) Gareth starts a new job Gareth and I buy a house The family joins a church We all have birthdays – 36, 35, 3 and 1 Gareth and I have our 10th wedding anniversary (celebrations still to …

Street Signs

As I’ve been driving around Christchurch over the last six months I have seen loads of street names that mean something to me.  Either they are of a place back in the UK or they are the name of a friend or family member.  So I thought I would start taking pictures of them.  I have ideas of making them into something to put on a wall somewhere, but for the time being I am going to share them with you. First one.   I used to live very near the River Mersey and now I live near to this street.  It’s nice to think that we are not the first people to have come over here from Merseyside.  Mersey Street is actually a very pretty, tree lined avenue so whoever named this street must have had good memories of Liverpool.  Much like me.


One day back somewhere I must have done one of those personality type test things that you often have to do as part of a training day when you work for a company.  I remember very little from these training days other than, sitting in an airless room doing silly tests with a bunch of equally uninterested adults is a drag.  One thing I did learn, that has stuck with me, is that I am a Completer Finisher.  Essentially I like to get things done, fully.  I don’t like to procrastinate, I am not a perfectionist but I absolutely hate being halfway. I’ve been thinking about this character trait for the last few days and I see how much it effects my life.  One of the ways being a Completer Finisher outworks itself, is that I am uncomfortable with potential.  What I mean is that as soon as I identify potential, in anything or in any form, I get twitchy until it is realised.  Let me give you some real life examples and I know …

Be England What She Will

I have been living in Christchurch, New Zealand for six months since yesterday.  This feels like it should be an anniversary that is marked in some way so I thought I would write a blog about England, or rather my missing England. For the first five months of being here I didn’t miss England, which is testament to just how wonderful the welcome to New Zealand has been.  This place is beautiful, their way of life suits us perfectly and the people have been more welcoming than any other bunch of strangers I have ever met in my life – and I’ve been to a few new places in my time.  But about a month ago I started experiencing the odd melancholy feeling for my homeland and in the most curious moments. The first one was brought on by Postman Pat.  My son requested it, well actually he pointed at the DVD shelves and said ‘pat pat pat’ which I translated as wanting to watch Postman Pat but I’ve since deduced that he uses this …


Water is a wonderful thing and now that the sun is making a meaningful appearance, my daughter is enjoying the delights of water play.  Almost every day she strips off and insists I give her a bucket of water to sit in.  Occasionally we treat her to the paddling pool but she seems just as happy with a selection of buckets and bowls to squeeze into. This weekend she got to enjoy water play with her friend Ethan.  And what a shocker, she kept her clothes on.  Hooray for sprinklers! Playing with water is such simple fun for children, and it’s actually an incredible privilege.  Nearly two million children a year die for want of clean water.  Put another way, dirty water kills 5,000 children a day. If that makes you want to burst into tears, go to and give the gift of water.